So I've mentioned that I mounted a Tekonsha P3 under the dash. A few people have asked me more information about it so I figured I'd make a dedicated post.
This is on my 2013 T3 Touareg.
A Quick Background:
I wanted to outfit the Touareg to tow any trailer I might want to tow (within the weight limits) so it needed a brake controller. I originally thought it would be great to have a controller mounted at my finger tips (like the new trucks have) so if I needed to I could manually operate the brakes if for some reason I had to. After shopping etrailer's website
and seeing the Redarc, Curt Spectrum, and Hopkin, I decided to give the Hopkin a try (it was only $60).
When I got it I realized it wasn't quite what I wanted. My plan was to mount it near the cup holder. The remote mount part wasn't easy to make look stock and anywhere I mounted it would require a lot of custom work to route the wires. I had considered the Redarc but decided I didn't need the off road options and that I wanted a bit more control than it offered. The same for the Curt Spectrum. All nice looking but perhaps not quite what I wanted.
I had used the Tekonsha P3 on another vehicle and liked it, at the time it was $180. However when I checked online prices it had come down to $130 which really wasn't bad. One complaint I always had about it was the screen was just too bright at night in the other vehicle (as it was mounted near the headlight switch). The P3 did everything I could ask of it except have a remote mount actuation lever and a way to dim or turn the screen off.
After a lot of thinking about the remote lever I decided I didn't really need it for driving as the entire point of the lever is to test the brakes after hookup and to get the gain set close before setting out on the highway. Once on the highway you dial it in to where you like it and for the most part it never changes unless you change trailers.
The Tekonsha has a lot of nice features other controllers don't offer. The main one I like is the brake boost button. It has a button that effectively changes the brake setting without touching the gain at all. It has 4 boost settings. Off, 1, 2, and 3. From the best I can tell you set it to the off setting for an empty trailer and set the gain. Then when you load the trailer you can turn the brake 'power' up by selecting B1, B2 or B3 corresponding to 3 different boost settings. From there I typically use a little gain adjustment (my trailer brakes brake differently when warm or cold and at high and low speeds so a bit of adjusting dials it in).
Other features of the Tekonsha P3 is multiple trailer memory, standard electric brakes or electric over hydraulic. You can toggle between 3 different trailer settings. Set it to use the newer electric over hydraulic brakes (for disc brakes on trailers) and you can also configure the display back light (I find green the least bright).
When I look at all those features it was hard to compare to other controllers it simply does so much. BUT the most important part was how it works driving. Once it is set right I don't really have to think about it or worry about it, I just drive like I normally would when pulling a heavy trailer. But it isn't a big deal, the brakes work. Even in panic stops they seamlessly work.
So with all that said... where to mount it. I found a nice flat spot under the dash that sort of looks like it was intended to mount something on it.
What I did is mount it under the dash within arms reach, out of sight in my normal driving position and also somewhere where I wouldn't bump it with my foot getting in or out of the vehicle. I've had it installed for 6 months now and only once bumped it by accident with my foot. Not too bad. Most of the time I forget its there unless I look.
In fact most people probably wouldn't notice it was in the car.
As you can see I basically centered the bracket on the mounting pad. If you look close you can see it took me a few attempts to put it in the right position. I used the Tekonsha metal screw on bracket. I probably could have also used heavy duty velcro like 3M Dual Lok (Amazon sells it) to mount it as well (as long as the oil and grease is removed with a solvent like Isopropyl or Denatured Alcohol).
Wiring and Parts:
The harness can be made from a VW backshell (from VW dealer) and connector crimp on pins (From Europe via Amazon). I used an inexpensive connector crimper I had for another project (like this crimper
). Or you can buy the harness ready to go on e-bay.
In my case the harness provided from Tekonsha with the VW end on was just about the right length to mount where it is shown in the pictures.
The black panel the Tekonsha is mounted to is some form of Nylon-Rubber plastic. It is fastened to the dash by 4 Torx screws. I simply removed the screws and carefully disconnected the under dash light from its wiring connector and was able to drill the panel outside the car. If you are using Velcro or Dual Lok as described above the panel can probably stay in provided a good clean surface is present for the adhesive to stick to (light scuffing with 100-180 grit sand paper may be help the adhesive bite fast).
All in all I am quite happy with how it turned out. The screw holes are not noticeable. If I were to do it again I would buy nylon lock nuts instead of the provided self tapping screws from Tekonsha. However it is still right were I left it. And it did its job on a 1500 mile trip.
Any questions PM me.
So now the good part... pictures: